From concrete jungles to the Peruvian jungle, Diana Dinerman takes us on a journey in her Edinburgh Fringe show
Diana Dinerman, who was raised in Washington DC, was a researcher and teacher at the University of Minnesota, but she felt something was missing from her life. In 2013, she took a 'Feminine Power' online course, which awakened in her a need for soul-searching and the following year she threw in her career as a cultural historian to become a writer-performer and stand-up comedian.
Signposted by reflections on history, her spiritual journey takes in a failed anger-inducing relationship with a non-committal divorcee, which led her to realise she needed to focus on herself, followed by a "sex and love addicts anonymous" meeting and a silent Vipassana meditation retreat. The action is punctuated by dancing and much flinging of her spectacles off stage.
We follow her to the Peruvian jungle as she takes ayahuasca, the vomit-inducing, plant-based psychedelic concoction, listen as she recalls how she used to hate hearing her name read out loud (“It's a Jewish name; that constant reminder that I was separate”) and accompany her on a DNA test that reveals she is “62.8 percent Ashkenazi Jew”. And we keep a respectful distance as she goes to a “womb-like” mikveh as part of a Jewish conversion at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in LA, where she now lives.
“A lot of you may think, 'Why? You already seem worried and expressive’,” the 42-year-old jokes, “but I converted to Judaism as I only had one Jewish parent.”
A lot of Dinerman's tales are about finding her way by rejecting things and it brings to mind Polonius's quote in Hamlet: “Thus do we… by indirections find directions out.” As the flyer puts it, if you're still seeking, this show is for you.
By Lee Levitt
Detour: A Show About Changing Your Mind runs until Monday 26 August (exc. 13 Aug). 2.35pm. £10-£11, £9-£10 concs. Underbelly, Bristo Sq, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG. www.edfringe.com